Appearing in "The Human Torch"
- Human Torch (Jim Hammond) (First appearance)
- Professor Phineas Horton (First appearance)
- Mr. Harris (First appearance)
- Mr. Harris' secretary (Only appearance)
- Scientists Guild (First appearance)
- New York City Fire Department (First appearance)
- New York Police Department (First appearance)
Races and Species:
- Horton Cells (First appearance)
Synopsis for "The Human Torch"
Professor Horton is holding a conference with the press, ready to reveal his creation to the world - the first android. He reveals that there is a difficult problem with his discovery. Leading the press into the lab, Horton points to a man in an air-tight, glass cage whom he calls The Human Torch. When air is let into the chamber, the man's entire body catches fire. The press in the room demand him to destroy his creation "before some madman can grasp its principles and hurl it against our civilization!" Horton refuses. Later, he is contacted and visited by the Scientist Guild. They also recommend destruction of the android since the flames cannot be controlled.
They come to a compromise. The Human Torch is sealed within a steel tube which is then sealed in a block of concrete. Horton vows to find the secret to controlling the flame.
However, some time later there is an explosion outside Horton's bedroom window. He finds the Torch gone. It is revealed that there was a slow oxygen leak in the steel tube. The Torch runs through the streets of the city, confused as to why everything he touches catches on fire. Some firemen douse him with water, but it just turns into steam. Realizing he is causing damage, the Torch dives into a pool in an effort to put out the flame.
Inside the house with the pool, there are two men: Sardo, a racketeer, and Red, his not-so-smart lieutenant. Sardo realizes the Torch could be worth a lot of money, if used correctly. The two men go to Acmen Warehouses - Inc. to sell some fire insurance. Sardo threatens that if the company doesn't buy it, they won't have any steel left. Mr. Harris, the company's president, refuses the offer and kicks the man out.Sardo and Red place The Human Torch in a glass tube filled with water and transport him to a warehouse. There, they place him inside and throw a weight at the glass. As it shatters, the Torch bursts into flame. He quickly realizes what they are up to, and escapes with a mighty leap. The flames make him lighter than air. He burns Sardo's house down, but can't seem to find the criminal himself, who is hiding in the steel underground lab. After taking care of Sardo's men, the Torch locates the lab. Sirens catch the attention of both men.
Horton and the firemen arrive on the scene. The professor notices a nitrogen tank in the flames and rushes towards it, but the Torch gets there first and melts it before it can explode. The gas puts out his flames. The fire chief fires a gun at him, but the bullet melts on his super-heated skin. The Torch returns to Sardo, who attempts to bargain for his life. The man ends up throwing a tank of sulfuric acid at the flaming android, but it backfires and explodes before even reaching the target. Sardo is killed in the blast.
After using another tank of nitro, The Torch discovers he can now control the flames and throw fireballs. While walking down the street, covered in flames, he is surrounded by the police. The Torch apologizes and demonstrates his control over the fire. The police take him to headquarters where he explains Sardo's evil plans. They let him live with Professor Horton, who takes full responsibility. The Torch explains his control over the fire to Horton, who sees it as a money-making opportunity. The Torch realizes that humans will only continue to use him for their selfish purposes and escapes through the ceiling to be free.
Appearing in "The Angel"
- The Angel (Thomas Halloway) (First appearance)
- Six Big Men (Only appearance)
- Dutch Hansen (Only appearance; dies)
- Trigger Bolo (Only appearance; dies)
- Mike Malone (Only appearance; dies)
- Gus Ronson (Only appearance; dies)
- John Dillon (Only appearance; dies)
- Steve Enkel (Only appearance; dies)
- Dr. Lang (The Big Boss) (Only appearance)
- Lil (Only appearance)
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "The Angel"
The Six Big Men (consisting of; Dutch Hansen who specialized in extorting protection money from night clubs; Trigger Bolo, who controlled a protection racket for retail delivery companies; Mike Malone who controlled all the illegal gambling dens; Gus Ronson who extorted local restaurants; John Dillon who ran a racket on the subway system; and Steve Enkel who fixed politicians, judges and juries) are terrorizing the city.
Eventually Dr. Lang (really the gang's leader), pretending to be a civic minded citizen gathers a bunch of like minded individuals, and had them sworn in by a mayor as special investigators. They seek to hire the costumed hero known as the Angel to hunt down and eliminate each of the racket bosses. The Angel had already taken up the job and makes his presence known, leaving Dr. Lang to believe that his plan was coming to fruition.
The Angel first goes after Ronson who was acquitted of crimes thanks to a crooked jury. Unaware that the Angel had sneaked into the back seat of his car, Ronson is strangled to death by the vigilante. Going after Mike Malone next, Angel mashes the crook into a pulp. Witnessing this John Dillon attempts to flee the Angel, jumping out a window and falling to his death. Lil provides the Angel with the location of Trigger Bolo and but vigilante is captured by his thugs. However, before Bolo could mow the Angel down, Lil orders him and Steve Enkel to take the Angel out into the woods to be executed. There Lil double crosses Bolo and Enkel, freeing the Angel, and in the ensuring fire fight Bolo and Enkel ended up killing each other.
The Angel next catches Dutch Hansen before he could make a deposit of all the stolen loot and slays him as well. Curious about who would go and pick up the loot from the safety deposit box, the Angel stakes it out and catches Lil and Dr. Lang in the act. He captures them and turns them over to the authorities, learning of their plot to double cross their colleagues in the process.
Appearing in "The Sub-Mariner"
- The Sub-Mariner (Namor McKenzie) (First Marvel/Timely appearance)
- Princess Fen (First Marvel/Timely appearance)
- Dorma (First appearance)
- Holy One (Thakorr) (First Marvel/Timely appearance)
- Crew of S.S. Recovery
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "The Sub-Mariner"
A diver from salvage vessel finds wrecked ship's safe empty and just recently dropped knife from shipwreck's deck. Captain orders him back down to investigate with another diver. They are searching the wreckage when attacked by Namor, the Sub-Mariner! He savagely attacks both men, stabbing one and crushing the diving helmet of the other. Namor then turns his attention to the ship, wrecking the propeller and running it aground. He heads back to his underwater home, where he is greeted by the "Holy One" who commends him on his attack against the humans. Namor brings the bodies of the two divers as trophies. His mother, Fen, congratulates him on beginning his war of revenge in such a decisive manner. Namor asks her why their people hate the Earth-men so much.
She explains that in the year 1920, a research vessel called the Oracle had journeyed to Antarctica and was doing "experiments" with explosives that killed many of their fellow citizens. Since Fen looked most like a human, she was sent to find out more about what was going on. She fell in love with Commander Leonard McKenzie, and became pregnant by him. The sailors could not understand how she was able to swim in the freezing water. She learned their language and sent back messages to the undersea army that the white men were too strong for them, but they sent an army to fight those invaders anyway. The white men's bombardment annihilated most of their race, and now, 20 years later, they are ready once again to press an attack against Earth-people, and Namor will begin this war.
Later, he takes his cousin Dorma with him to the Cape Anna Lighthouse. Once there, they attack the guard who stands watch on the lighthouse and wreak havoc on the controls and equipment hoping to destroy some of the ships that use it's beacon for safety. Some naval men come on the scene, and in order to escape, Namor and Dorma commandeer a plane which flies nearby. Sub-Mariner commands Dorma to wreck the plane and swim back home as Namor continues his crusade against humans.
Appearing in "The Masked Raider"
- Masked Raider (Jim Gardley) (First appearance)
- Gang of Cal Brunder (Only appearance)
Races and Species:
- Eternity Mask (First appearance) (Unnamed)
Synopsis for "The Masked Raider"
Cal Brunder, a big league rancher has become a menace of Cactusville, using his army of thugs to force the smaller ranchers into selling up their property. One night they attempt to coerce Jim Gardley into giving up his land but he refuses and fights back. Brunder's goons get the drop on him and take him to their boss, who gives Gardley one last chance to surrender his land, a request that is also refused. Cal calls the sheriff to have Jim charged on trumped up cattle rustling charges and he is locked in jail.
Realizing the old sheriff is not cut out for his job anymore, Jim feigns being sick, in order to trick the sheriff into opening his cell and so Gardley knocks him out. Stealing a horse and riding out into the wilderness, Jim lets the horse free and then raids his own ranch for supplies. He spends the next number of weeks practicing his shooting skills until he becomes a crack shot. Seeking a horse, he spots a white stallion running free and one day is surprised to see that it had been caught and penned in. Taming the horse, he names it Lightning. Jim then decides it is time to go after Cal Brunder, and swearing to fight crime he dawns a black mask and dubs himself the Masked Raider.
Meanwhile, back in town Cal Brunder gets opposition from the Bleck Ranch and sends his boys to shoot the ranch owner and burn the ranch to the ground as a warning to the other ranches to give up their properties. When the sheriff confronts Cal about it, Cal warns the sheriff against opposing him. Soon Brunder's reign of terror nets with success as the ranchers prepare to deal with him.
However, just after Cal hears the news he is alerted that one of his men has been shot. Pegged to his corpse is a note, a warning to Brunder and his men that they will pay for their crimes. After gaining the support of the sheriff the Masked Raider rides into Cal Brunder's ranch and begins dusting it up with the aid of the townsmen. As the Masked Raider deals with his goons, Cal attempts to escape on a horseback. However the Masked Raider ropes him in a lasso and pulls him off his horse. He then turns Brunder and his men over to the sheriff to be sent off to jail. After the Masked Raider leaves, the sheriff wonders if the Masked Rider will go after bigger criminals.
Appearing in "Jungle Terror"
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "Jungle Terror"
After Professor John Roberts has been gone for three months searching the jungles of the Amazon to find a diamond that can supposedly enslave people, his friend Ken Masters and nephew Tim Roberts decide to travel out to find the missing scientist. As they fly out from Florida in their own plane, they soon become aware that they are being followed by John Crafton -- a rival plantation owner.
Unfortunately for Ken and Tim, their plane cracks up and they crash, and while they survive they are soon captured by some of the local natives. Crafton and his men land safely and when they are confronted by the natives as well, they try to fight them but one of John's men is killed before they can flee the scene.
In the native village, Ken and Tim are brought to the chief who sentences them to death and sequesters them in a prisoner hut until it's time to be executed. To their surprise Professor Roberts is there as well. The Professor explains that the natives were friendly to him until they realized that he was after the diamond and locked him up. However, he had just recently found a passageway hidden in the floor and the trio decides to use it and escape the natives.
They find themselves in a cavern that leads them to a massive stockpile of diamonds. Before they can start to collect those they are confronted by John Crafton and his goon Slug who have also fled from the natives through escape hatch in the prisoner hut. The natives catch up and kill Crafton and Slug with arrows. Ken, taking Crafton's pistol holds the natives at bay while Ken and the professor flee. Ken catches up to them just as they find Crafton's airplane and the trio uses it to escape unscathed.
When the boys lament being unable to collect the diamonds, the professor shows them a smaller diamond that he managed to grab before their escape.
Appearing in "Burning Rubber"
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "Burning Rubber"
Bill Williams is a race car driver with something to prove when the audience laughs at his shabby looking Blue Bird race car. Deciding to go on the race alone, he sends his mechanic Fred Turner to find his girlfriend Ann. Ann is told by Fred that Bill has been moody because he has been working on a new gas feeder system for his race car that they have been proposing to C.G. Clark the motor magnet. When Fred explains that Bill is testing it out on the road this moment and that a minor flaw could have a dangerous catastrophe. Ann shows the plans to Clark and wins the sale and then has Bill flagged out of the race before he has an accident. When Bill realizes what Ann had done for him he is as happy as can be.
Appearing in "Adventures of Ka-Zar the Great"
- Ka-Zar (David Rand) (First appearance)
- John Rand (Only appearance; dies)
- Constance Rand (Only appearance; dies)
- Zar , the lion (First appearance)
- Paul de Kraft (First appearance)
- Sha , the lioness (First appearance)
- Quog , the wild pig (First appearance)
- Nono , the monkey (First appearance)
- Kru , the buzzard (First appearance)
- Wal-Lah, the hippopotamus (Only appearance)
- N'Jaga , the leopard (First appearance)
- Trajah , the elephant (First appearance)
- Mubangi (Only appearance; dies)
- Chaka , the ape (First appearance) (Cameo)
Races and Species:
- Paul de Kraft's Mirror (First appearance)
Synopsis for "Adventures of Ka-Zar the Great"John and Constance Rand, along with their three-year-old son David, are flying from Johannesburg to Cairo, when their aircraft crashed into a Belgian Congo jungle. All three survived the crash but later Constance died of the tropical fever. John decides to take the 200-mile trip back to civilization with his son but a terrible storm causes the mammoth baobab tree to fall at him. Permanently deluded after being hit by the falling tree, he makes the jungle their home. David grows up, strong and healthy, in harmony with the jungle and the creatures dwelling inside it, even saving Zar the lion from the cruel death, trapped in quicksand.
One day, they encounter a group of natives led by a fat white man. John tries to make them leave the sacred jungle before they profane it. The white man, Paul De Kraft, is a vicious criminal on a treasure hunt and is not so easily convinced to turn back. He tries to shoot John in the back but David sends an arrow to his arm stopping him. Later De Kraft goes to the Rand's hut and shoots John Rand. Rand's son would have met the same fate if not for Zar. The lion, remembering the young man who saved his life, kills two natives and scares De Kraft away.
John Rand dies of his shooting wounds and the feline takes the boy into his lair, accepting him as brother. He would now be called Ka-Zar, brother of Zar, and earn the respect of all the jungle creatures.
- Since this publication, the origins of the Human Torch have been expanded and told from different perspectives namely Marvel Mystery Comics #92, Saga of the Original Human Torch #1, Marvels #0-1, and Marvels Project #1.
- The Torch's origins have also been expanded: In Avengers Annual #22 revealed that Phineas Horton worked in the town of Timely, Wisconsin under Victor Timely, Jr. who was secretly the time traveler Kang, who had established the town to secretly proliferate the modern age with future tech so he could conquer that era.
- Horton was later revealed to have worked with others in deigning his android, namely Fred Raymond (father of the Torch's future sidekick Toro), and James Bradley (later known as Doctor Nemesis) as revealed in Invaders #22 and Invaders Vol 2 #3 respectively. Marvels Project #1 states that Horton was also receiving government funding for his project.
- The element used to create the Torch's skin, and what makes him combust are called Horton Cells, this term was first used in Torch #1.
- It is generally accepted that the Torch's ability to burst into flame was originally a design flaw. Avengers Icons: The Vision #1 states that this was due to the fact that a Solar Gem created by Horton to control the combustibility of the Horton Cells was stolen by a Nazi spy named Kenneth Laumer. An account in Avengers / Invaders #5 states that Horton intentionally created the Torch's ability to burst into flames due to the fact that Phineas was Jewish and he wanted to create a weapon that was symbolic of the atrocities the Nazis were committing against his people.
- The Angel is later given an origin story in a text story that appeared in Marvel Mystery Comics #20 that explains that he was raised by his father after his mother died in child birth. A highly educated boy, his first act of heroism was saving an innocent man from getting electrocuted in the electric chair. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Golden Age 2004's profile on the Angel states that his tampering with electricity apparently mutated him in a way so that he aged very slowly.
- It was later stated in Marvels Project #1 that while Halloway was practicing as a doctor he looked after the elderly Two-Gun Kid who had spent many years in the future before being put back in his rightful place in time. The Kid tried to tell him of the future that was coming and that Halloway was going to be a part of it. Two-Gun left his mask and six-shooters for Thomas after he died. Halloway was inspired to become a super-hero after coming to people's aid during the night of the Human Torch's rampage.
- Since Marvels Project #1 was published 70 years after Marvel Comics #1, the issue of the Angel using Two-Gun's mask and six-shooters is obviously not present in this or any other Angel story published in the 1940s. One possible explanation for this is that both Young Allies Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1 and All-Winners Squad: Band of Heroes #1 both state that the United States government commissioned Timely Comics to create comic books of super-heroes to boost morale during World War II. These comics were based on the real life exploits of these heroes but were subject to editorial changes to suit the needs for pro American propaganda. This has been a means to work around some of the more ridiculous and socially unacceptable themes that were featured in Timely Era comics.
- Namor's origins here are only a brief narration, they have since been depicted many times from different perspectives, namely in Sub-Mariner Comics #32, Fantastic Four Annual #1, Sub-Mariner #1, and Saga of the Sub-Mariner #1 among others.
- The Holy One's real name is Emperor Thakorr, throughout publications in the 1940s and 50s, Thakorr is referred to as "The Holy One" or "The Emperor", his real name was not revealed until Sub-Mariner #1.
- All Atlantean males are depicted as having fish-like characteristics: greenish skin with scales, large eyes, and catfish like barbels under the nose while females have Caucasian skin but large eyes and some slight fish like features. Atlanteans were not depicted with their trademark blue-skin and humanoid features until Fantastic Four Annual #1. Additionally, the name of their race and the fact that they had any connection to Atlantis was not revealed until that issue.
- Although this was a one-off story, Ken Masters received an entry in the Marvel Mystery Handbook 70th Anniversary Special #1 published in 2009.
Adventures of Ka-Zar the Great
- David Rand has no apparent relation to Kevin Plunder, the modern age Ka-Zar who first appeared in X-Men #10.
- First Marvel Comic published.
- Ka-Zar first appeared in October 1936 in a Manvis Publishing Company pulp magazine called Ka-Zar. Two more issues of the magazine were published (in January and June 1937) and Ka-Zar did not appear until "Marvel Comics #1".
- The Angel story in this issue mimics much of the plot of The Saint in New York by Leslie Charteris.
- The first page of this issue shows a "funnies" page named "Now I'll Tell One!".
- First 8 pages of "The Sub-Mariner"-story are reprinted in color from Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1.
- This issue is sometimes referred to as Marvel Mystery Comics #1, as the next series' storyline is in Marvel Mystery Comics #2.
- Some copies of this issue will have a blackened Oct. on the cover and instead have Nov. in its place. This is due to Timely selling out with over 80,000 issues sold in with the first printing in 1939. This prompted Timely to print a second printing with the Nov. date added.
- This comic is referenced throughout The Venture Bros. Season 4 premiere "Blood of the Father, Heart of Steel", where the mint-conditioned comic's loss in value as the Venture family uses it is a recurring joke.
- Write your own review of this comic!
- Discuss Marvel Comics Vol 1 1 on the forums
- 108 Images from Marvel Comics Vol 1 1
- 7 Reprints of Marvel Comics Vol 1 1
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All hail the mighty Marvel Comics. Issue #1 of a far-reaching franchise. This issue was actually a pretty good read, being that it was created in the late '30s and covered multiple stories. I never understood why there were always about 30 stories to each issue back then. Was it because of the need to get "more bang for your buck" (or 10 cents originally), a way to be easy on the writers/artists, or just to see which story sells and then push that character more? Anyhow you look at it, it seemed to work, otherwise there would be no Marvel today. Because of this mix, I will take each story on separately and hopefully get my points across without boring too much along the way. Contents
"Now I'll Tell One" - Funnies section
This issue begins with a one-page "funnies" section. Alright, back in the day when the Great Depression was clearing itself out and the world was about to plunge itself into war, people needed to just laugh. Odd thing is that their humor... well, IMHO kind of sucked. Sure, it was a comic book and many more youngsters than adults read it and probably chuckled, but these jokes are not like reading your Sunday newspaper funnies. This was the quick, one-panel and almost political-type of humor that just didn't cut it. You get the interesting pictures along with a quick one-liner joke. Anyway, if you ever get to read one of the reprints featuring these funnies, I would recommend quickly moving to the "meat" of the comic rather than wasting your time.
The Human Torch
Taking into account that this was written over 70 years ago, this story was actually rather good. I think I started off thinking it was going to be dull and very out-dated, but it has all the workings of your comic stories of today as well as people actually were drawn being smoking, maimed and sometimes killed (which in this post-censorship era, is rather interesting). I mean this issue might have be rated "T" these days. Not only was the feel of the story surprising, but it actually had some funny comments and scenes in it. I was actually smiling at how one second the Torch was absently destroying the city and then was laughing at the fire truck just because he likes the bells. Another interesting thing is the plot lines that were displayed in comics back then. This issue tells you all the whos, whats, wheres AND whys as well as tells the entire story in only a few pages. It leaves you wanting to find out, "what will happen next time on...". No wonder the Human Torch continued to be one of the stars of future issues.
Comics back in the day were violent compared to now. The first six scenes are of the mobster-like "Six Big Men" killing a restaurant owner, beating up a city official and subway worker, and even blowing up a delivery truck business. Ironically, not only are the bad guys killing people and roughing them up, the main character seems to not have any problem taking out his own kind of "justice" on the bad guys (while writing rhymes on notes for the police to track him). Not sure how people back in the day felt about vigilantes, but it was definitely okay being portrayed in comic books. I likened the Angel to the current "Punisher" feel of justice (and even has a plain outfit with a single object on the chest. Though the Angel does have a non-aggressive "angel wings" logo instead of a skull... scary.) Overall, the story flowed well, but was just a little disjointed in some points. Still, I would have probably picked up the next issue on the Angel just to see how he dealt with the next villains.
The Sub-Mariner never made sense to me. Why did someone in the sea ever have winged-feet and was able to fly? This story is pretty interesting though as a dramatic race-war (and again with a pretty violent protagonist). Of course, Namor was one of those characters who was born of an Atlantean and a land-dweller and tries to take revenge on the one side of his family, partly because he doesn't understand them and partly because they shun the other half of him. His overall adventure in this story is of revenge and he definitely gets that done by killing several people and destroying a lighthouse. He finally takes off in a bi-plane to destroy it. This overall story is was not hitting the mark for me, but it is definitely easy to see why people followed his further adventures as he is simply finding his way in the world of land-dwellers and learning how to both help the needy and hurt the evil.
The Masked Raider
I was never one of those "cowboy story" readers. Sure, I thought the West was interesting and some of the real-life characters from back then were cool, but for reading a comic about any of them, I think I would have passed on them back then. Unfortunately, my appreciation of these stories has not changed and this one was just as bad. I truthfully cannot even come up with a good blog about this story.
This story tries very hard to be a mystery "Indiana Jones" story, but doesn't really accomplish it. The story/characters were canned for future issues and it was not difficult to see why. It left much, to be desired.
If I purchase a comic book it is normally for the graphics and comics... not for a written story (I know. I'm obviously off in thinking that). This story definitely was one I could barely keep my eyes open for. If anyone can finish this one-page short-story about a race-car driver, let me know how it ends.
The story here is one we should all be able to see -- Tarzan. They both almost even have the same NAME! Interesting thing about this one though is the approach. Sure, it's an origin story of someone we all knew as kids, but this one tries to at least teach you new animals while exploiting a known character that was stranded and orphaned in the jungle, raised by animals, and then hunted by -- and hunts -- an evil poacher. Really, Marvel??? Really? Somehow Ka-Zar and his adventures make it into future issues. Rant completed.
OverallOverall the comic was a strong beginning, lacking middle, and then a very soft ending. Like I said though, it's the first and it was worth the read. Just glad we made it past the '30s though.